Saudi offers bounty to find local IS terror cells

Saudi offers bounty to find local IS terror cells
3 min read
28 February, 2016
Saudi Arabia's interior ministry has put a bounty on six Saudi terror suspects, who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group and murdered an officer in Riyadh last week.
Footage filmed by IS sympathisers of their attack circulated over social media [Twitter]
A reward of up to seven million Saudi Riyals [$1.8 million] has been offered by Saudi Arabia's ministry of interior for information concerning Islamic State [IS] group cells inside the country.

The offer of bounty follows the murder of an officer working for emergency services in the al-Qassim district of Riyadh 10 days ago by IS sympathisers.

The body of Sergeant Badr Hamdai al-Rashidi was found at the crime scene on February 16 according to police from the district.

Footage filmed by the IS sympathisers of their attack circulated over social media during the past week.

In the video the terror-cell proclaim their allegiance to IS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and film their capture and shooting of al-Rashidi at close range.

The attackers all seem to have been close family relatives of the victim who "took advantage" of their relations to draw the victim to a remote area and "treacherously murder him in cold-blood" a spokesman for the Saudi Interior ministry said on Saturday.

The spokesman revealed the identities of six males identified from the footage.

The ministry called for anyone with further information on the suspects to report it at their nearest police station.

A reward of one million Saudi Riyals, over $250,000, is offered for anyone bringing forward information leading to the suspects' whereabouts.

The reward will increase to five million Saudi Riyals, over $1.3 million, if the information leads to their arrest, and then increases up to seven million Saudi Riyals, $1.8 million for any information leading to the capture of an IS group terror cell.

"The targeting of security officers in crimes of terror and betrayal will not break their determination to fight terrorism and defend our homeland and nation from terrorist crimes," an interior ministry spokesperson said.

Saudi Arabia - and particularly its foreign residents - have been targeted by al-Qaeda and IS militants over the past two decades.

In 2003, around 39 people were killed when al-Qaeda militants detonated three bombs in expatriate compounds in Saudi Arabia.

The country's Shia community have been a particular target of IS this year, with a number of mosques hit by suicide bombers - leaving dozens dead.

Former al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden and IS chief Baghdadi have also taken aim at Saudi Arabia's royal family in audio messages.

Hundreds of Saudis have joined the ranks of IS and al-Qaeda, while other citizens have been accused of financing the group.

However, a recent poll by the Arab Centre for Research and Policy Studies showed that the vast majority of Saudis reject the extremist groups' ideology.

In December local papers reported the authorities focusing particularly on arresting recruiters for the militant group.

The militant group vowed in January to "destroy" Saudi prisons which hold a number of its convicted supporters.